Daniel Patrick Welch - Bush’s Sword of Damocles is poised above the people and city of Fallujah , ready to wreak the pent-up wrath his addled brain thinks his tainted election victory permits. Already thinking that they had a mandate from God, the American fascists now think they have one from the American people. However, like true warriors, the election for these crazies is no more than a blip on the screen, a hiccup on the road to world domination. What is the true fascist reaction to the recent news that your invasion has killed 100,000? Why, to prepare to kill another hundred thousand, of course. Remember Kissinger’s chilling exchange on the Nixon tapes where they casually discussed how many would die if they ordered the bombing of the dikes in the north of Vietnam : “…a few hundred thousand… That’s a lot of people.”
Kirsten Zaat - Margaret Hassan has dedicated her life to helping the international community understand that there is no ‘clash of civilisations’. Rather there is only ‘we the peoples’ who are entitled to enjoy our rights while fulfilling our universal responsibilities to protect our fellow human beings. The last 15 years have taught me that ‘we the peoples’ have more in common than we differ. And Margaret has spent more than 30 years now trying to convince the international community of this while tirelessly working to ensure that all peoples enjoy their rights and uphold their responsibilities in dignity and in hope. I hope whoever has taken Margaret away from us realises the momentous mistake they have made and shows the generosity and compassion to right their terrible wrong.
Naomi Klein - Next week, something will happen that will unmask the upside-down morality of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. On October 21, Iraq will pay $200m in war reparations to some of the richest countries and corporations in the world. If that seems backwards, it’s because it is. Iraqis have never been awarded reparations for any of the crimes they suffered under Saddam, or the brutal sanctions regime that claimed the lives of at least half a million people, or the US-led invasion, which the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, recently called “illegal”. Instead, Iraqis are still being forced to pay reparations for crimes committed by their former dictator.
Kamil Mahdi - The old city of Najaf is being demolished. Bulldozers are moving in to complete the work of the tanks, missiles and airborne machine guns. The promised help for reconstruction appears to be conditional on the population leaving their homes and businesses in order to allow what is left of the city’s old seminaries, historic homes, khans, markets, cellars, catacombs; its alleys and its beautiful but damaged and neglected architecture, to be swept away in a mad rush to create free fire zones that are accessible for humvees.
Naomi Klein - When President Bush appointed James Baker as Special Presidential Envoy on Iraq’s debt last year, he called Baker’s job “a noble mission.” At the time, there was widespread concern about whether Baker’s extensive business dealings in the Middle East would compromise that mission, which is to meet with heads of state and persuade them to forgive the debts owed to them by Iraq. Of particular concern was his relationship with merchant bank and defense contractor the Carlyle Group, where Baker is senior counselor and an equity partner with an estimated $180 million stake. Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker’s power has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents recently obtained, that is precisely what has happened.
Guest Editorial by The Black Commentator - De facto partition of Iraq is a bipartisan project. Today, rightist Republicans and Democrats speak of the “threat” of civil war dividing Iraq, and a recent report in the Financial Times, probably planted by Brits or Americans, is a variation on that theme. In the usual fashion, the paper quotes an “unidentified diplomat” as saying: “The south has been desperately disappointed, and they see Baghdad as continuing to leave them without representation. So they are working on ways to organize themselves to have more clout with the center.” In reality, civil war is the second item on the neocolonial wish-list. Should occupation of the whole of Iraq become untenable, they will foment inter-Iraqi strife in hopes of holding on to the oil-rich parts of the country through agreements with potentates of mini-states – sectarian and ethnic warlords, much like in Afghanistan.
Juan Cole - U.S. President George W. Bush said last week that the Iraqis were refuting the pessimists, and he implied that things were improving in that country. What would the United States look like if it were in Iraq’s current situation? Violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent, proportionately, of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun shootings and aerial bombardments in just one week? That is a number greater than the deaths on Sept. 11, 2001. And what if those deaths occurred all over the country, mostly in Washington, the capital, but also in Boston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and San Francisco?
Ahmed Amr - I don’t know how much a Bush speechwriter gets paid these days – but it can’t be much because they seem to be moonlighting for Allawi. One should compliment them for their invaluable assistance to George’s political career. During four years in the White House and two presidential campaigns, they have admirably kept the President ‘on message’. It’s a shame that they have to supplement their meager income by exporting their talents to Iraq. Not a few commentators noticed that Allawi’s speech to Congress was a neocon masterpiece. The administration immediately denied they had a hand in putting words in Allawi’s mouth. They insisted that no one in the White House was involved. OK. But what about all those neocons that linger outside the gates of the President’s sleeping quarters?
John V. Whitbeck - With polls showing that only 2% of Iraqis consider Americans “liberators”, while solid majorities favour an immediate withdrawal of all American forces, scepticism as to the genuine eagerness of George W. Bush and Iyad Allawi to see free and fair elections held in January is understandable. There is widespread assumption in the region that these elections will be postponed or, rigged to ensure that any government remains effectively subservient to American control. Nevertheless, genuinely free, fair and early elections may offer the USA the best, if not the only, hope for a relatively elegant escape from the deep hole which it has dug for itself in Iraq. To seize this opportunity, Americans must come to grips with four hard truths which, if accepted, could set them (and the Iraqis) free.
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